Cultivating the young minds to read

Courtesy: Prisms

“A child who reads will be an adult who thinks”

The world is changing swiftly just like its spin around the sun. The huge whole world has now shrunk into our mobile phones. With advancement of technology, everything happens at the touch of a button. The definition of leisure and work has changed through these years, and these both can be done at that one touch.

However, to be working, one needs to reach his/her work destination. But for leisure, you may just be sitting on your couch and relaxing yourselves away. There have been days when reading books formed a major activity of our leisure time. The way we relax on our couch may have remained the same all these years, but sadly, the books have been replaced by mobile phones and reading clubs have been replaced by gaming zones. It’s not “how many books you have read” or “let’s exchange our books” anymore. Now it’s more of “how many kills you had in the game” or “how many likes did you receive on your picture.” The habit of reading books especially among most of the youngsters seems like a folklore.

Though technology has always been a boon, screen based e-reading has affected the traditional way of reading. Reading habit which has already been fading has now on the verge of becoming extinct with youth of today losing interest and touch with books. Reading has deteriorated in such a manner that it’s now raising concern among the literati.

This concern is what made Bookaroo organise the ‘Bookaroo Festival’ in Gangtok recently. With the idea of rebuilding the habit of reading books among the children of age group of 04 to 14, this festival was held at Takse International School.

Organised by the Bookaroo organisation in collaboration with the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts (IGNCA), North East Region, this event is a festival of literature for children. Having been organised the Bookaroo festival throughout the country and abroad, the event here was held for the 33rd time.

“It’s a celebration of the joy of reading!” Exclaims Swati Roy, the founder director of Bookaroo.

This wide ranging programme of events and activities bring authors, illustrators, storytellers and audiences together to inspire each other and to be inspired, to share stories and experiences, and make books come alive for children.

“The mission of the festival is to bring children and books together. It has been appreciated by children, parents, and teachers”, she tells adding that this type of literature festival will always leave a positive impact among children.

IGNCA, the premier research organisation’s main objective is to preserve and promote the cultural ethos, folklore and the rituals of the community.

“One of the major programmes of the centre in children’s world is to inculcate the habit of reading amongst children. Bookaroo is the festival to encourage and attract children towards knowledge through various activities,” informs Dr. Richa Negi, Director, IGNCA.

Now a days mobile phones and television occupy the minds of the modern youth. A negative effect that social networking sites are having on the younger generation is taking them away from the world of pages and paragraphs. Social networking sites appeal the interest of the young minds rather than books. The decreasing number of visitors to different public libraries and downfallen business of leading booksellers and publishers confirm the decreasing habit of reading books.

The habit of reading enables the mind to think over objects of interest and help a person in making informed decisions. Unfortunately, the number of book readers is continuously decreasing which is an indication of scarcity of knowledge in future. Technology is taking control steadily over individual lives and the reading habit is fast decreasing.

Reading is a unique dimension of human inquiry. It allows for ways of thinking that no other type of medium can allow. Whether read on a Kindle or other e-Reader devices or in print format, reading encourages the development of imagination in both children and adults.

The problem of lack of reading habits originates from the beginning of the 21st century. The main reason for the problem is breakthrough in technology such as television and internet, as they have replaced books in the case of source of information.

Reading is a wonderful habit. It is a kind of therapy, which can work wonders and act as a soothing balm to calm frenzied minds and frayed nerves. It not only increases knowledge but also improves language. It also helps people in keeping themselves updated about the current issues and the present trends besides increasing their creativity and imagination. Spending some amount of time on reading helps individuals to gain perspectives about various topics and issues.
Reading also helps people in communicating their ideas in different ways. It helps them to
understand the actual picture.

“It is important for everyone to inculcate reading habit and is crucial when it comes to student,” says Doma L. Zimba, the Principal of Tadong Government Senior Secondary School, Gangtok.

Amid all these there’s a hope in Sikkim that reading habit will find its real importance for there are already many government schools who are creating Reading Corners in their respective schools.




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